8 Most Common Carpet Fibers and Their Qualities

The main synthetic carpet fiber options include nylon, polyester, triexta, and polypropylene. Natural fibers like wool, cotton, and sisal also make good-quality carpets. When choosing a carpet fiber, consider things like allergies, pets, children, and the room’s traffic pattern. 

The 8 Main Carpet Fiber Options

Carpet Fibers and Styles To Consider


Natural Carpet Fibers

1. Wool

Wool is a natural fiber most often made from sheep’s hair. Manufacturers can also produce wool from alpaca, llama, goat, and camel hair.

Wool carpets are durable, maintain their appearance for a long time, are fire-resistant, and act as insulators to keep your house warm. The biggest cons to wool carpets are the costs, shedding, and how easily this fiber absorbs stains.

2. Cotton

Cotton is a plant-based fiber that manufacturers use in area rugs and mats. It’s not common for wall-to-wall carpet since it wears down fast.

Like wool, cotton fiber attracts dirt and is prone to stains. Homeowners choose cotton for its soft texture and ease of maintenance. You can vacuum a cotton rug or machine wash it to remove stubborn stains. Cotton is also suitable for a bathroom space as it absorbs moisture.

3. Sisal

Sisal is a tough fiber made from the sisal cactus plant. Sisal has a rough texture that’s uncomfortable to walk in, making this fiber most suitable for outdoor use. 

Sisal carpets are available in different weaving patterns and give a natural look. Sisal fibers become slippery over time, making them unsafe for stairways and high-moisture areas. 

Synthetic Carpet Fibers

1. Nylon

Nylon is a popular choice for both residential and commercial flooring — it doesn’t wear in high-traffic areas and is easy to maintain. Nylon carpets offer durability and comfort at a fair price. 

A nylon carpet is also best for your basement as it’s resistant to mold, mildew, rot, stains, and insects. There are two types of nylon: Nylon 6 and Nylon 6.6. Nylon 6.6 is more durable.

2. Polyester

Polyester (PET) carpeting is made from synthetic fibers and has properties comparable to nylon. It’s stain-resistant with a soft feel and available in a wide array of pet-friendly colors and styles. Polyester carpets are a “green” option since they are recyclable.

3. Triexta

Triexta is a newer fabric in the carpet industry with qualities similar to nylon. A notable carpet brand, Mohawk, makes triexta carpets from renewable corn sugar. 

 Triexta carpets are stain-resistant, making them suitable for pet owners and kids’ rooms. This carpet fiber has a soft feel and also provides zero percent moisture absorption.

4. Olefin (Polypropylene)

Olefin carpets are solution-dyed artificial fiber carpets. Solution dyeing makes the carpets fade-resistant, even when exposed to sunlight and bleaches. As such, they make good outdoor carpets. Olefin fiber isn’t as resilient as nylon, so it may flatten under heavy foot traffic.

5. Acrylic

Acrylic carpets have a similar look and feel to wool. They’re also lightweight and hypoallergenic. Since they’re synthetic fibers, acrylic carpets resist moths, chemicals, and fading. 

Consider an acrylic carpet if you’re looking for a carpet fiber that mimics wool or cotton. But, acrylic may not be ideal for high-traffic areas since it stains and wears fast.

How to Pick the Right Carpet Fibers

Besides color and size, there are other things to consider when choosing the best carpet for your home.

Know the Maintenance Requirements

While all carpets need maintenance, some materials need professional cleaning and care. Kids’ rooms and households with pets need a low-pile and stain-resistant carpet like nylon, polyester, or triexta. When selecting a carpet, use cleaning methods and detergents suitable for the material.

Compare the Carpet Padding Options

The carpet padding material is as crucial as the tufted material. You want firm and dense padding for high-traffic areas to cushion against the floor. Thick padding also extends the lifespan of your carpet.

Installing a carpet without padding may void its warranty. The most common padding options include foam, fiber, and rubber.

Check the Warranty Terms

Check the wear and appearance retention warranty terms when picking carpet. Fade resistance and stain and soil warranty terms are also worth considering. Notable brands also offer fade resistance and installation warranties.

The best carpeting companies offer a 10- to 20-year warranty on texture retention. Under this warranty, the carpet should keep its appearance under normal foot traffic. High-quality carpets tend to have such warranty conditions.

Consider the Installation Criteria

Before installing a new carpet, you need to remove the existing one and clean the subfloor. Your room should be clear of any furniture or obstructions. You need specialty tools to measure the space, trim, and anchor. Hiring a professional is ideal for wall-to-wall carpeting.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Which carpet type and style is best?

The best carpet type depends on the room’s use. Choose a low-pile carpet with stain resistance for a high-traffic area or outdoors. Nylon is the best carpet material since it’s durable and easy to maintain.

What’s the most common type of carpet?

Berber and sisal are common styles of loop pile carpets. Both carpet types are durable and affordable. Saxony carpets made from 100% nylon are also common in households.

What is a broadloom carpet?

A broadloom carpet is a woven or tufted carpet that fits wall-to-wall. Broadlooms are sold in rolls of 150 feet and widths ranging from 12 to 15 feet. Fewer seams on the carpets create a more cohesive space in large rooms.

What color carpet hides dirt the best?

Dark brown carpets work best in hiding dirt. Earthy tones conceal stains and crumbs well and do not need frequent vacuuming. They are suitable for offices, kids’ rooms, and households with pets.